Captain’s Log M8•T0: Ink-Slinging

Awesome Moments has ground almost to a halt. Almost. I can get out an illustration a day most days of the week. I’m only 5 illustrations away from completion, so I’m going to keep pushing forward, but while I’ve debated making a final super push of two or three illustrations a day (these only take me a couple hours to do), I’ve decided no. I’m going to give every picture my full attention, and if I try to force it I’ll be tempted to get sloppy.

The thing that has absorbed my attention this week has been trading cards. I’ve liked cards my whole life. I thought they were fun in the Amber Chronicles. I loved them in Digimon Season 3 (known as Tamers to us Digimon snobs). I didn’t really get into Yugioh or Magic the Gathering, but I wanted to.

Well, as you’ve already seen, my virtual pet concept contains within it the notion that you use trading cards to do things to your virtual pet. You can see the slot in the pet, with cards stacked in it:

So, while developing John Michael Jones Gets a Life, I had the idea of using cards to represent mechanics in the game world, and I just re-appropriated my virtual pet cards, creating variants for monsters, characters, play styles, artifacts, etc.

Much, much later, I decided to make a card-based interface that I can use for games. I have some problems with it as it is now, but here it is:

Because this was to be a menu interface for potentially multiple different kinds of games, or at least multiple games with different stories, I ditched the Therian virtual pet card design. I wanted the card to look a little more generic and universal, not have a cyberspace theme. I went with a vellum on gold thread scroll base design with a traditional sort of a back. Since my idea was to make this a computer interface, and the card has to be readable when it’s partly off the bottom of the screen, I moved the title up to the top. And I made the picture as big as I could. After all, part of my selling point is that I do my own art. Might as well focus on that.

The back was too ornate. Yeah, I drew that by hand, but it doesn’t really represent me and my style. I needed something a little simpler that would fit everything from Theria to Hat Trick to John Michael Jones.

Better.

Well, this last week I got obsessed with the card design again. So I went through and re-re-designed it. Made the picture bigger. Rearranged the information. Etcetera.

And tomorrow, when I do the next episode of John Michael Jones, I may drop the cards into the comic, which means I needed a card for John’s character class.

For Awesome Moments, I have been drawing and inking on a tablet. For John Michael Jones, I have been inking with a brush, based on my newfound skill with the brush since last Inktober. But to make this card art, I went back to my trusty Tombow brush pens, with the addition of a Pentel Pocket Brush when I wanted that extra brush action and it was… glorious. I have been needlessly multiplying resistance.

Future Awesome Moments books. Future John Michael Jones comics. These will be inked this way. Sure, I may well do another Inktober challenge where I solely work with a brush. But it will be just that: a challenge. One should always spend time at the boundaries of skill, for this is how to grow. But when producing a product, I will choose for the hard part making the product good rather than making the product at all.

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